Archive for 2012

Thinking Like a Movement

From January 27-31 in Madeira Park, BC, join Plan Institute and Social Innovation Generation (SiG) for Thinking Like a Movement—an annual four-day learning opportunity with Canada’s leading experts in social innovation.

To learn more about the event—designed for social innovators in business, government, and the citizen sector who want to extend the impact, durability, and scale of their work—click here.

Upcoming Webinar!

On January 30 at 10:00 a.m. (EST) tune-in for Levelling the Playing Field: Building Equality and Inclusion with Sport, to learn how two youth-focused programs in Greenwich (UK) and Montreal are using the power of sport and games to cultivate cross-cultural understanding, empathy, equality, and fair play.

The free webinar is hosted by Cities of Migration and highlights Play It Fair!, a program of Foundation grantee Equitas.

Call for Proposals to Canadian Sistema-Inspired Programs

The Foundation has created, in partnership with the National Arts Centre, a $60,000 fund to assist Canadian organizations that are launching Sistema music programs. El Sistema—founded in Venezuela in 1975—provides children in low income communities with access to musical instruments and a demanding regimen of instruction at no cost.

The fund is open to: programs currently in the pre-launch and fundraising stage; programs in operation for less than three years; and established programs that propose a research project with the potential to benefit Sistema-inspired programs nationally. Eligible organizations can access matching funds up to a maximum of $10,000 for a variety of purposes, including operations, evaluation, research, and administration.

To learn more about the eligibility criteria and submission process click here.

BC Ideas—Winners Announced

The Foundation congratulates the winners of the online Ashoka Changemakers competition, BC Ideas: Solutions for Stronger Communities. BC Ideas sought innovative solutions to complex health, social, and environmental challenges facing British Columbia communities.

Selected from 466 entries, 33 competition winners received grants of $500 to $20,000, including one from the Foundation awarded to Beauty Night, an organization building self esteem and changing the lives of women and girls living in poverty, through wellness training, life skills development, and makeovers.

Visit to learn more.

Innoweave Featured on OTF’s [SiC] Blog

Innoweave’s Aaron Good shared his thoughts on social innovation in the not-for-profit sector in the latest edition of [SiC], the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s blog. In his post, Aaron talks about the need for non-profits to move from a “business as usual” approach and the role of tools for social innovation in enhancing organizational impact. As Aaron notes,

“Innovation is not easy. It takes resources – resources that community organizations are rarely able to divert from their programming. Too many don’t have the time to stop or slow down the train, despite the fact that there may be a better route than the one that they are taking. They aren’t able to check if they running on low-efficient fuel, or passing right by their destination. Some aren’t even clear exactly what the destination is, even if they know that it’s somewhere to the North, or South of where they are today.  Finally, when passionate, hardworking leaders do squeeze out the time to look beyond their latest crisis, they often find so many options and choices on how to do things better that it can be almost overwhelming. Some may ask themselves: Where should I start? What option is best for us? How do I decide? Or even, How do I make this this happen?”

To access the full blog post, click here.

The Stop Featured in Canadian Business

Foundation grantee, The Stop Community Food Centre (the Stop) was recently featured in the Canadian Business article The Stop: The capitalist’s guide to feeding the poor, describing the Stop’s journey from a traditional food bank model to an innovative community food centre.

The article highlights the Stop’s ever-growing array of programs and initiatives to engage and serve its clientele, including “community gardens that provide a therapeutic space where members are taught how to grow their own vegetables; programs that teach young mothers about proper nutrition; workshops where local residents learn about food security and receive public-speaking training; and after-school classes where tweens whip up healthy meals”.

The article also shares the Stop’s innovative approach to diversifying funding and revenue, highlighting some of the social enterprises launched by the Stop, including a successful catering business and farmer’s market, among others.

Building on the success of the Stop’s model, and with demand for similar models in other communities, Community Food Centres Canada was recently launched to share the community food centre model across the country.

Visit to learn more.

Spotlight on ArtsSmarts

ArtsSmarts—an initiative launched by the Foundation in 1998 that is now a stand-alone organization—held its sixth national Knowledge Exchange recently at the University of Calgary, on the theme of cultivating creative communities. One of the presenters at the meeting, John Eger, subsequently penned this piece in the Huffington Post: The Best Way to Grow the Economy? Creativity.

In other ArtsSmarts news, the program was one of six charities selected by Target Canada to receive a share of one million dollars through the Give with Target program.

Innoweave: What’s Your Theory of Change?

The Innoweave Impact and Strategic Clarity module focuses on an approach to strategic thinking that eludes many non-profit organizations. Rather than focusing on what we do (activities), a theory of change requires us to think about the ultimate goals we are trying to achieve (outcomes) and how, through our activities, we achieve those goals. Though it sounds simple, this is actually a fairly challenging exercise – so much so that Innoweave is putting 14 organizations through a 6-month process to develop their intended impact statements and theories of change. For organizations with a wide range of programs, a long history, or that operate on a system-level, defining a single intended impact for the organization is no easy task. But doing so can help organizations better understand what activities are most effective in achieving that impact, and therefore make more strategic decisions about where to focus their efforts in a resource-scarce environment.

Learn more about Innoweave’s Impact & Strategic Clarity module.

Webinar: Building on Failure

In a new Foundation webinar, Building on Failure: Learning When Things Go Wrong, Ashley Good of Admitting Failure provides an overview of how to “fail forward”—an approach that is grounded in years of generating failure reports with Engineers Without Borders Canada—and Dr. Natasha Blanchet-Cohen highlights some failures (and lessons learned) related to her work with the Foundation’s pan-Canadian youth engagement initiative, YouthScape.

Watch the pre-recorded webinar.

Innoweave’s First Impact & Strategic Clarity Workshop

On November 16 in Toronto, Innoweave held a workshop for the first cohort of the Impact and Strategic Clarity module. The module focuses on enabling community organizations to articulate a coherent ‘intended impact’ and ‘theory of change’ and report on it to internal and external stakeholders. It is being led by the Bridgespan Group, and supported by United Way Centraide CanadaPricewaterhouseCoopers Canada FoundationUnited Way York RegionThe J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, and CISCO Canada. 14 participating organizations will receive individualized coaching over the next several months as they refine their impact strategies. Additional cohorts of the Impact and Strategic Clarity module are planned in 2013.

To learn more about Innoweave, including upcoming workshops on social finance, developmental evaluation, social enterprise, and cloud computing, visit Innoweave’s recently launched beta website at